• Australia's Heather Garriock (7) vies with China's Zhou Feifei during their qualifying match of the 2012 Olympic women's soccer tournament in Jinan,China (AAP)
Matildas great Heather Garriock’s retirement from football has occurred in the same manner she played the game; efficiently with little fanfare.
By
Anne Odong

Source:
The Women's Game
18 Jan 2016 - 11:39 AM  UPDATED 18 Jan 2016 - 12:25 PM

While, through her presence with the Fox Sports W-League coverage, there has a been a presumption that Garriock would not be returning to football, hearing former teammate Amy Duggan refer to her as “former Matilda” on Sunday’s broadcast drove home the point.

A point which Garriock confirmed to The Women’s Game when asked after the broadcast.

“It was my life since I was 5 years old,” said Garriock.

“I was privileged to represent Australia at 16 years old and from then on, I never knew anything different.”

While the player herself prefers to move quietly, or not so quietly with two children to corral, into retirement, it would be remiss of the football community not to acknowledge one of the great careers of Australia’s second most capped international (male or female).

Debuting in 1999, Garriock’s 13 year career with the Matildas saw her represent Australia at three FIFA Women’s World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011), 2 Olympic Games (2000, 2004), 3 Asian Cups (2006, 2008, 2010) along the way amassing 130 caps and netting 20 goals.

As well as being the second most capped Australian footballer, Garriock has also lined up for Australia in the second most World Cup matches (11) scoring 3 times at the highest level.

At national level, Garriock’s 18 year career started as a 14 year old with the NSW Sapphires. She soon emerged as one of the top players in the former Women’s National Soccer League and was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal as the best player in the 2002–03 season.

In the W-League, the Sydney native led hometown club Sydney FC to the Sky Blues first W-League championship in 2009 and the premiership in 2010/11.

Upon the birth of her first daughter Kaizen, she returned for what was to be her final season of competitive football, captaining the Western Sydney Wanderers in the 2013/14 W-League season.

Quick and blessed with a much talked about engine and incredible work rate, Garriock’s ability to stream up and down the left wing, as well as her left footed delivery saw her play in some of the top leagues in women’s football.

These included Chicago Red Stars in the American WPS, helping Swedish side LdB FC Malmö (now FC Rosengård) to the 2011 Damallsvenskan title and Denmark’s Fortuna Hjørring to second place in the 2007/08 Elitedivisionen title race.

“I was my passion and still is my passion,” she continued.

“Never lost the passion but just lost the commitment that is needed because of the changes in life, my family.”

With her time on the pitch behind her, the 33 year old has already turned her attention to the next phase of her football life, coaching.

Unsurprisingly Heather Garriock has already made an impact on that front named the 2015 Football NSW Women’s NPL1 Coach of the Year after leading Sydney University Soccer Football Club to the 2015 title.

Garriock is also currently studying for a Master of Education (Sports Coaching) at Sydney University and obtaining her AFC coaching licences.

“My friends, my football family and fans have shaped my character and who I am for many years.

“I hope to bring all that I have learned as I transition to the coaching side of the game.”

While the first part of her football life has ended, it’s only a matter of time until we see Heather Garriock return to the national scene or maybe even internationally.

“I just want to give a big thank you to all those who have supported me in Australia, with the Matildas and overseas to allow me to realise my passion for as long as I did.”